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Mid-side mic recommendations?

Member for

4 years 6 months
I am doing some mixing for bar bands and camcordering the result for my YouTube channel.

My camcorder audio is poor so I am looking into upgrading it.

I have selected the Zoom T24 as the audio recording device and am investigating microphone techniques. Since the audience participation is such an important part of a bar performance, it would be nice to capture that ambient field/feel directly. I settled on the 'mid-side' technique as my probable solution, with a twist.

Please excuse me if I understand this wrong, but it seems most people prefer using identical figure-8 ribbons, or a figure-8 condenser with a cardioid condenser as the mid. I can see advantages to both of these approaches, but what I am really after is the widest possible stereo image without any spatial aliasing, and omnidirectional mono response, so I am considering a figure-8 condenser side with an omnidirectional condenser mid per the original invention of mid-side.

Since this is an experiment for bar band recording (nothing critical is happening) I was wondering if the dual diaphragm Behringer C3 is a potential candidate. I can experiment with all three directional patterns and see which one has the best performance as the mid for my application.

Presumably the bidirectional that matches the side mic would be the best because the frequency response should match well between the two but I really do not know, plus that figure 8 mid also mirror images the rear toward the front in phase-inverted form, creating an overlapping rear image on the stereo sound stage with a left-right side swap as the source traverses front-to-back.

I need the transmitted image to translate to the acoustic space well so that the sound of people walking around and making noise makes sense spatially, and to preserve as much stereo separation as possible so that the ambient feel of being in a bar performance is preserved. That should happen best with omni and figure 8 when they are level-matched so they cancel an on-axis point source in anechoic space and create a response null in the opposite channel when the source resides at the opposing end of the 'side' mic. The omni mic should also preserve good frequency response for mono decoding/downmixing. Sometimes the bass is 5 string and the house music can be trance or dubstep with strong deep bass that I would like to capture realistically.

I was hoping to find a single-diaphragm condenser to use as the side mic, one that matches an omnidirectional condenser well, but I could not find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8. Does such exist? Would it help? I think I read somewhere that the side mic should be single diaphragm for better phase coherence. Does it matter that much? Where can I find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8?

Honestly I know next to nothing about microphones. I am hoping for a simple solution that lets me pair up an omni mic with a figure-8 and get reasonable frequency response matching. Would a 3-way mic do it? Is there one that should be particularly suited to mid-side mic?

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Member for

4 years 6 months

CherylJosie Sun, 09/10/2017 - 15:30
True to form, FecEx seems to be pretending to attempt delivery of my microph0nes to my apartment.

Every time they need a signature it seems they let the package ride around on the truck for a week and then tell me to come get it.

Several times I asked them to please attempt delivery because I am usually home.

FedEx has to be the worst delivery service I have ever had to deal with.

Member for

8 years 9 months

DonnyThompson Sun, 09/10/2017 - 15:37
kmetal, post: 452570, member: 37533 wrote:

We are in the buisness of illusion and a lot of famous 'live' albums were mostly overdubbed.
You bet they were. ;)
There have been "live" albums where the crowd and applause was "borrowed" from another "live" album, which was borrowed from a "live " album before that, and most, if not all, had plenty of studio overdubs involved in post production after the shows. ;)

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Sun, 09/10/2017 - 16:13
CherylJosie, post: 452664, member: 50446 wrote: True to form, FecEx seems to be pretending to attempt delivery of my microph0nes to my apartment.

Every time they need a signature it seems they let the package ride around on the truck for a week and then tell me to come get it.

Several times I asked them to please attempt delivery because I am usually home.

FedEx has to be the worst delivery service I have ever had to deal with.

You've got to put "Driver Release Ok" on the delivery notes, or secondary adress line. You may also be able to leave a signed sticky note on the door.

My cousin is a former fed ex driver and he does the driver release ok, so he doesn't get bothered while he's working in his home studio.

Member for

4 years 6 months

CherylJosie Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:41
The package is worth $600 and is not insured against theft. I need to sign for it in person, and am available to do that, but the driver has to actually attempt to deliver it. This driver will not even put a sticky note on the door or call, he just ignores my packages.

I live in a gated community and I suspect he just does not want the delay of having to be buzzed in. This seems to be a structural thing with FedEx. USPS and UPS have no such issues delivering to me.

I am going to pick it up tonight from their branch office as I always do. FedEx... FAH-dEx.

Member for

4 years 6 months

CherylJosie Wed, 09/13/2017 - 14:56
I have determined that the ProFX16v2 has four subgroup output jacks and subroups 1-2 or 3-4 can be used either mono or as stereo pairs in the main mix too depending on which selector switches are active at their outputs. Subgroups 1/3 are driven off input fade left, 2/4 are driven off input fade right, but if any of subgroups 1-4 are selected on both their left and right main out switches they behave as mono return to the main mix rather than stereo.

So this means I can create two separate stereo vocal submixes, one for the mains mix and one for the recording. It looks like I am in better shape on this multichannel recording than I thought, and I should be able to get a dedicated vocal stereo mix into the Zoom R24 right off the board without having to do too much additional setup.

So with the 6 Behringers and the stereo subgroup vocal mix I should be able to record the entire band multichannel on 8 tracks. I can mic the bass, guitar, and keyboard directly off their amps, I can mic the drums in stereo from overhead or waist height (suggestions?), and I can mic the room on the remaining Behringer from somewhere in the audience.

I will need some way of mounting these microphones. I saw some hooks that sit under an amp head and hold the mic below, in front of the speaker cab. There is not much room on stage so I am reluctant to set mic stands up on the floor.

Fortunately the Behringers come with shock mounts. They are going to need them.

The only thing I have been unable to determine is if those subgroup outputs are TS or TRS jacks. All the other jacks specify the type in the manual but they seem to have forgotten to specify for these particular outputs. I guess I can tell by partially inserting a plug.

Can balanced output jacks be safely shorted to unbalanced with a TS plug? or is that something that is just not done?

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Wed, 09/13/2017 - 15:20
CherylJosie, post: 452727, member: 50446 wrote: I can mic the drums in stereo from overhead or waist height (suggestions?), and I can mic the room on the remaining Behringer from somewhere in the audience.

If you've got the kick mic'd than stereo OH is cool, with the mics close to the drums as practical, pointing at the snare. Otherwise I'd do mono OH and Kick. I'd also probably to stereo room/audience mics with a nice wide spread, rather than stereo OH, if I couldn't do both.

I've used Mono OH every time I've done a live gig, and I've done a couple hundred. Most PAs run in Mono, and the imaging you'll get from a loud stage isn't going to be fantastic. Plus mono will ease phase issue, and the kick and snare are panned center almost always anyway. If you want some imaging layer some samples into the toms in mixing, and that'll work fine.

The audience with a nice wide image is to me much more valuable, and especially in surround.

CherylJosie, post: 452727, member: 50446 wrote: Can balanced output jacks be safely shorted to unbalanced with a TS plug? or is that something that is just not done?

Yes. Try to keep the cables runs short, ideally under ten ft, since unbalanced are more prone to interference.

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Fri, 09/01/2017 - 16:41
The thing with figure 8, which to my knowledge requires dual diaphragms, is the quality control it takes to accurately match the diaphragms. Having matched diaphragms gives you the matched nulls and pickup patterns. This takes tight tolerances, and is a big part of why you don't see a lot of figure 8 pickup patterns in budget or even mid prices mics. So if your going to opt for one, a lower model one won't likely give you the desired results. You may find a ribbon mic like the cascade fathead meets your figure 8 pickup pattern, and keeps the costs down, while being widely reguarded as a solid pro level mic. Although ribbons may require more pre amp gain than availble with your recorder, and you'd need a booster like the cloudlifter.

By all means experiment, that's what makes audio fun. For my money at the gig, a pair of sm81's and xy configuration would give you a nice phase coherent image of the crowd and you can keep it above the mix position as to keep patrons away from messing w them. They don't have to be 81's, a pair of audio technica 3035's would be just fine. I would also use the same mics in a spaced pair instead of in XY.

You could also just do a single Omni.

Again experimenting is fun, so by all means, but those techniques would work. As far mid/side, I'd stick with mid/side as it's supposed to be, otherwise it's not mid side and won't work as expected. It doesn't mean don't try something, it just means the results are less predictable and could be full of canceliztaions and phase isssues. Or maybe it'll be the coolest thing out there. For anything that's going to be heard by the public, and particularly for a live gig that's one shot only, tried and true is the way imho.

Member for

19 years 2 months

Kurt Foster Fri, 09/01/2017 - 17:55
CherylJosie, post: 452440, member: 50446 wrote: I was hoping to find a single-diaphragm condenser to use as the side mic, one that matches an omnidirectional condenser well, but I could not find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8. Does such exist?


Audio-Technica AT4050ST




As a member of Audio-Technica’s legendary 40 Series

And dual-version of the immensely popular AT4050

The Audio Technica AT4050ST is the definition of what you might call a “high-end stereo mic“.

With a unique internal design that combines the use of both cardioid and figure-8 capsules…

This mic allows for simple stereo recording on 3 settings:

  • Mid/Side
  • X/Y at 90º spread
  • X/Y at 127º spread
class="xf-ul"> Though not rich in fancy features, the main selling point of this mic is its ability to record pristine sound quality, through the use of premium parts and manufacturing.

Member for

11 years 7 months

bouldersound Fri, 09/01/2017 - 22:00
If I'm recording multitrack I prefer a spaced pair placed either side of stage where they pick up as little direct main or monitor sound. I'll high pass them to reduce the effect of bleed. Being off axis from the speakers means you're mostly getting LF. The reason to use a spaced pair is that you don't want to get too focused an image of the audience, you want it fairly generalized.

But most recordings I do are simpler, using my Zoom H5 with the XY mics. Normally I'll use the line inputs to capture the board mix and the built in mics to supplement it. If I have the option I'll put the recorder and its mics at the foot of stage to capture stage noise, which balances off the board mix nicely and gets some audience. If foot of stage isn't practical I'll go for a spot on the center line of the room (relative to the speakers), typically near the sound booth (if there is one).

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:22
CherylJosie, post: 452440, member: 50446 wrote: I was hoping to find a single-diaphragm condenser to use as the side mic, one that matches an omnidirectional condenser well, but I could not find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8. Does such exist? Would it help? I think I read somewhere that the side mic should be single diaphragm for better phase coherence. Does it matter that much? Where can I find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8?

Honestly I know next to nothing about microphones. I am hoping for a simple solution that lets me pair up an omni mic with a figure-8 and get reasonable frequency response matching. Would a 3-way mic do it? Is there one that should be particularly suited to mid-side mic?
The only native fig-8 is a ribbon, because ribbon mics can be made symmetrical about a central plane. You can't get a single-capsule condenser to have a fig-8 pattern because the capsule backplate gets in the way. A condenser mic that has fig-8 as one of its switchable patterns must have two capsules, or at least two diaphragms sharing the same polarised backplate.

From your description of what you want to achieve, you need equal sensitivity all around the microphones. For this, I would recommend that you try a crossed-pair fig-8, either as a Blumlein configuration (mics at +/-45 degrees to the centre line), or as M-S Blumlein, where one mic faces forwards and the other faces sideways. As with all M-S patterns, this latter configuration will need M-S decoding before mixing. The microphones can be either a pair of ribbons or a pair of dual-capsule condensers that have switchable patterns.

Now the bit that a lot of people get wrong: you cannot simply use a ribbon mic and a condenser as the two mics of a Blumlein or M-S pair. This is because ribbon mics are velocity-sensitive and condenser mics are displacement-sensitive, so are inherently 90 degrees out of phase with one another. The reason that I said "simply" is that, in instances where I need to use a mix of ribbon and condenser (or dynamic), I use my Audient Mico pre-amp that has a continuously-variable phase control on the second channel, so I can dial in a full-frequency 90 degree phase correction at the time of recording.

Using an omni pattern as the centre (M) microphone and a fig-8 pattern as the S channel will not give a true M-S pair of signals, but at least if you use the same type of transducer in both mics, the signals will be in phase and so will mix correctly.

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Sat, 09/02/2017 - 07:31
Boswell, post: 452451, member: 29034 wrote: Now the bit that a lot of people get wrong: you cannot simply use a ribbon mic and a condenser as the two mics of a Blumlein or M-S pair. This is because ribbon mics are velocity-sensitive and condenser mics are displacement-sensitive, so are inherently 90 degrees out of phase with one another. The reason that I said "simply" is that, in instances where I need to use a mix of ribbon and condenser (or dynamic), I use my Audient Mico pre-amp that has a continuously-variable phase control on the second channel, so I can dial in a full-frequency 90 degree phase correction at the time of recording.

Great piece of knowledge about ribbons right there boz.

It would be incredibly useful if continually variable phase was a standard feature on most pres and consoles.

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Sat, 09/02/2017 - 08:37
Ok, 3 questions based on that thread linked.

1. So if your using a figure 8 ribbon, along w a dynamic cardiod (sm57 for example) on a cab, or anything, in a non-M/S way, you face one side of the figure 8 directly at the source(?) and aim the 57 directly at the source as well? Would phasing be an issue if both capsules are close like in a coincident pair? 18 years deep in recording and this is brand new to me. From what I gather it's not the pickup pattern that causes the issue for the Mid mic, it's the type of mic, or way the diagram works? Why doesn't a moving coil dynamic exhibit the phase issue a pressure sensitive (typical cardiod condenser) would?

2. So a ribbon mic is velocity sensitive, but technically a pressure gradient mic? (http://www.audiomasterclass.com/know-your-microphones-what-is-the-difference-between-pressure-pressure-gradient-and-velocity-microphones)

3. How do you test on an XY plot as you @Boswell mentioned.?

I'll attach the screenshot since my phone is acting up and I can't quote the thread.


Member for

7 years 5 months

John Willett Sat, 09/02/2017 - 09:23
Boswell, post: 452451, member: 29034 wrote: The only native fig-8 is a ribbon, because ribbon mics can be made symmetrical about a central plane. You can't get a single-capsule condenser to have a fig-8 pattern because the capsule backplate gets in the way.

Please can I correct this as this is not strictly true.

The Sennheiser MKH 30 is fully symmetrical about a central plane as it is a single diaphragm capsule with an active front plate as well as a back plate.

It is electrically and acoustically fully symmetrical as can clearly be seen from the diagrams.

The Neumann AK/KK 20 capsule is also symmetrical - this also has a front plate but, in this case, it is not active - it's a passive front plate to make sure the microphone is acoustically symmetrical as can be seenfrom the diagrams.

Though fig-8s like teh Schowps and some others are not fully symmetrical as they don't have a balancing front plate and the rear lobe is acoustically different from the front lobe (and is shown in the polar patterns).

So - both the Sennheiser MKH 30 and the Neumann AK/KK 20 figure-8 condenser mics are fully symmetrical.

It's NOT just ribbons.

Member for

7 years 5 months

John Willett Sat, 09/02/2017 - 09:33
CherylJosie, post: 452440, member: 50446 wrote: I was hoping to find a single-diaphragm condenser to use as the side mic, one that matches an omnidirectional condenser well, but I could not find a single-diaphragm condenser figure-8. Does such exist?

Yes - the Sennheiser MKH 30 is a single diaphragm condenser that is fully symmetrical.

Used with any of the MKH 20 / 30 / 40 /50 range it makes an excellent MS rig and is the favourite of many pofessional engineers.

I have a pair each of the MKH 20 / 30 /40 and my MS rig of choice is the MKG 40 /30 (cardioid mid), though I also have a second MKH 30 if I want to do MS Blumlein.

THIS AES Paper is a must read about MS

Member for

12 years 2 months

kmetal Sat, 09/02/2017 - 21:08
Kurt Foster, post: 452455, member: 7836 wrote:

Yeah man those things are cool. I'm a fan of radial. I do wonder what sort of compromise is made when it's not built into the preamp, especially since this appears to be an active box. That said having the ability to vari-adjust the phase I would imagine supercedes any signal degradation that may occur by quite a bit. Considering radials' solid no nonsense builds, I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. When I invest in a stereo pair, I'll order one of these. Would there be a reason to have two of them? My only thought would be to actually get in phase with the drum head or speaker cone, but I'm not sure that's technically phase. Lol all good things in pairs right? Good stuff Kurt keeping that box(s) on my hit list. I like how it has the polarity reverse for null testing or quick checks. I'm assuming that's what it does, but obviously have to read the manual.

When would you use the 1/"4 inputs? The only thing I can think of is matching a DI singal w the mic or vice versa.

@John Willett thanks for the link to the paper I'll surely check it out when I'm not falling asleep. Enjoying the talk about mics and their operation, I'm surprised how little I actually know to be honest, definitely taking notes on this thread lol.

Member for

4 years 6 months

CherylJosie Sat, 09/02/2017 - 21:54
pcrecord, post: 452444, member: 46460 wrote: Correct me if I'm wrong but M/S is a figure of eight as side and cardioid as mid. an omni as mid would screw things up right ??
Maybe what you are looking for is blumlein (2 figure of 8) :


I agree that if the ambiance were the only consideration for this project, a Blumlein pair would be the best solution, and I will try that configuration to see how well it works, along with a mid-side and an xy using the cardioid too.

I have a twist though and that twist is that the purpose of this project is not so much to create a realistic quality audio recording but a realistic quality surround experience for virtual reality 'you are there' by wheeling the array around on a cart with a camcorder for video capture. The point is to capture as much of the venue as possible so I can better evaluate my mixing, and also capture the essence of partying all night in a bar and of course that is the crowd, the dancing, and the overall chemistry of the event. So to capture that also I need to move the array around and rotate it.

Blumlein pair would exhibit the unfortunate quality that as the array rotates, the surround image alias will cause the audio image of people in the venue to suddenly cross over from left to right due to the alias in the surround image. As the cart turns away from the stage, the surround image of the stage will 'wrap' through the middle due to the cloverleaf pattern of the stereo image produced by the dual lobes. Even a mid-side using two figure-8 mics exhibits the same behavior, since the two configurations (xy vs m-s) are basically duals of each other.

Likewise, traditional mid-side with cardioid will not present the viewer with a true 360 degree sound field capture due to the cardioid, but omni mid mic will capture symmetrically, with ideal stereo separation when the mics are balanced for optimum cancellation.

I could use a purpose-built surround microphone instead of a mid/side, but that is even more expensive. The one I checked into that is small and convenient for camcorder is ~$4000.

The price of even a quality mid-side implementation is way too high for this project. This is bar bands, not the London Philharmonic (though if I can tune it well enough with 'real' gear later, maybe...)

One vendor suggested I use Fat Head ribbons and I considered it, but that solution was still going to cause me several difficulties, including a need to find a matching omni ribbon mic (is there such a thing?). I suppose I could use another Fat Head for the mid mic but then I am still stuck with an image alias and phase inversion on the backside that could interfere with other things (such as an A-B or NOS that are added to the array for phase ambiance capture).

So eventually I decided to scrap the original plan due to the cost of doing it right, and go with a cheap solution that I know you are all going to hate.

It is an experiment and hopefully only temporary until I get better at this and come up with some funding.